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This text was copied from Wikipedia on 25 March 2015 at 6:11PM.

An old illustration of the gate circa 1650
Lud Gate and surrounding area in the sixteenth century (as imagined in 1895)
Plaque marking the location of Ludgate

Ludgate was the westernmost gate in London Wall. The name survives in Ludgate Hill, an eastward continuation of Fleet Street, and Ludgate Circus.

Etymology

Despite the claim by the Norman-Welsh Geoffry of Monmouth in his Historia Regum Britanniae that Ludgate was so-called having been built by the ancient British king called Lud—a manifestation of the god Nodens—the name is believed by later writers to be derived from "flood gate" or "Fleet gate",[1] from "ludgeat", meaning "back gate" or "postern",[2] or from the Old English term "hlid-geat"[3][4][5][6][7] a common Old English compound meaning "postern" or "swing gate".[3][4][5][5][7][8])

History

The Romans built a road along the north bank of the River Thames westwards through the gate later called Lud Gate as part of the fortifications of London. Guarding the road from the west, it led to the Romans' main burial mound in what is now Fleet Street. The gate stood just above a crossing of the Fleet River (this now runs underground). It stood almost opposite what is now St Martin's Church on what is now called Ludgate Hill. The site of the gate is marked by a plaque on the north side of Ludgate Hill, halfway between Ludgate Circus and St Paul's Cathedral.

Rebuilt in 1215, the rooms above the gate became used as a prison for petty offenders. The gate was one of three separate sites that bore the name Ludgate Prison. In 1378 it was decided that Newgate Prison would be used for serious criminals, and Ludgate for Freemen of the City and clergy who were imprisoned for minor offences such as debt. By 1419 it became clear that prisoners were far too comfortable here, as they were more likely to want to stay than to pay their debts and leave. They were all transferred to Newgate prison for this reason, although that prison was so overcrowded and unhealthy that they soon returned. It had a flat lead roof for prisoners to exercise on, as well as a 'large walking place' at ground level. The gate was rebuilt about 1450 by a man called Foster who at one time was lodged in the Debtor's Prison over the gate. He eventually became Sir Stephen Foster, Lord Mayor of London. He rebuilt Lud Gate and the Debtor's Prison and remembering his own sufferings abolished the practice of making the debtors pay for their own food and lodging.

Rebuilt by the City in 1586, a statue of King Lud was placed on the east side, and one of Queen Elizabeth I on the west. These statues are now outside the church of St Dunstan-in-the-West, in Fleet Street. It was rebuilt again after being destroyed in the Great Fire. Like the other City gates it was demolished in 1760. The prisoners were moved to a section of the workhouse in Bishopsgate Street.

In literature

Ludgate is mentioned in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, written around 1136. According to the pseudohistorical work[9][10] the name comes from the mythic Welsh King Lud son of Heli whom he claims also gave his name to London.[11]

References

  1. ^ Walter Thornbury (1878). "Ludgate Hill". Old and New London: Volume 1. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 9 December 2011. 
  2. ^ Bebbington, Gillian (1972). London Street Names. Batsford. p. 207. ISBN 978-0-7134-0140-0. 
  3. ^ a b Charters of Abingdon Abbey, Volume 2,Susan E. Kelly, Published for the British Academy by Oxford University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-19-726221-X, 9780197262214, pp.623-266
  4. ^ a b Geographical Etymology, Christina Blackie, pp.88
  5. ^ a b c English Place-Name society, Volume 36, The University Press, 1962, pp.205
  6. ^ Middle English Dictionary, University of Michigan Press, 1998, ISBN 0-472-01124-3 pp. 972
  7. ^ a b An encyclopaedia of London, William Kent, Dent, 1951, pp.402
  8. ^ http://www.surnamedb.com/Surname/Ludgate
  9. ^ Wright, Neil (1984). The Historia Regum Britannie of Geoffrey of Monmouth. Woodbridge, England: Boydell and Brewer. pp. xvii–xviii. ISBN 978-0-85991-641-7. 
  10. ^ "...the Historia does not bear scrutiny as an authentic history and no scholar today would regard it as such.": Wright (1984: xxviii)
  11. ^ Ackroyd, Peter (2001-12-02). "'London'". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-10-28. 

See also

Coordinates: 51°30′51″N 0°06′16″W / 51.51417°N 0.10444°W / 51.51417; -0.10444

5 Annotations

Bill  •  Link

Ludgate, one of the four ancient gates of the City, taken down November 1760, at the solicitation of the inhabitants of Farringdon Within and Farringdon Without . It stood immediately west of the church of St. Martin, Ludgate, between the church and the London Coffee-house. It is a popular notion that Ludgate takes its name from the mythical King Lud, by whom it was built sixty-six years before the birth of Christ . Dr. Edwin Freshfield supposes it to be derived from the word lode, a cut or drain into a larger stream.
---London, Past and Present. H.B. Wheatley, 1891.

Bill  •  Link

Ludgate, is situated 797 feet south of Newgate, and according to Geffry of Monmouth, took its name from King Lud; but as that historian has justly forfeited all credit among the learned, his assertion has no weight; for it is certain that the ancient Britons had no walled towns. The name of this gate is therefore with much greater propriety derived from its situation near the rivulet Flood, Flud, Vloet, Fleote or Fleet, which ran into Fleet Ditch.
The present gate was erected in the year 1586, with the statue of Queen Elizabeth on the west front, and those of the pretended King Lud, and his two sons Androgeus and Theomantius or Temanticus on the east.
---London and Its Environs Described. R. Dodsley, 1761.

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References

Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.

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